When will it end?

The Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIB) or commonly called the Sale of Passport scheme has already resulted in some kind of embarrassment for the Keith Mitchell-led government in St. George’s.

The 18-month old administration is looking to the scheme to bring in millions of dollars to help out the Government Treasury that is most times virtually empty and under tremendous financial stress.

A front page story in this week’s issue of THE NEW TODAY newspaper highlights an alleged fraudulent act committed by a man who claims to be a Korean and was looking to get involved in the Sale of Passport programme.

The ruling New National Party (NNP) should endeavour to get at the bottom of the issue in order to take corrective measures in order to avoid future embarrassment.

No programme is foolproof and crooks, conmen, fraudsters and tricksters will always try to take advantage of any perceived weakness in a system.

This should be all the more important for the current rulers because the first Sale of Passport initiative during the earlier 1999-2003 period of the NNP attracted all kinds of characters who were looking to lay their hands on a Grenadian passport.

The decision of Canada to impose a visa requirement on Grenadians entering their borders was heavily influenced by the previous economic citizenship programme.

This latest fraud that was clearly attempted so early in the life of the new programme should serve as a wake up call to the powers-that-be to try and plug any apparent loopholes.

This newspaper is not aware of any publicised mechanism that was put in place by government to select lawyers to act as agents to facilitate the sale of passports.

However, the handful of lawyers so designated to act on behalf of the state are considered to be close allies and supporters of PM Mitchell and his NNP party.

But huge question marks can easily be placed against the names of one or two of the lawyers who have been put in the frontline to act as Agents for the Sale of Passports by government.

A lawyer who operates out of the UK told this newspaper in an interview a few months ago that she had great difficulties in understanding the modus operandi of one of the local sale of passport lawyers and was thinking of raising at the appropriate level the conduct of this particular lawyer in legal matters.

It is not common for lawyers to come out so open and talk as frank as possible in the public domain about the conduct of another lawyer.

The instant case should force the hands of PM Mitchell and his group to take a fresh look at the pool of lawyers already selected to help facilitate the sale of our passports.

Are the lawyers bending the rules or rigorously following the guidelines as provided for in the CBI Act?

What is it that a lawyer should be looking for in order to convince himself that the would be applicant for a Grenadian passport is above board?

How do we handle a person who starts off by showing an early inclination to send his cash with a promissory note that information about himself that can help in the conduct of due diligence would be submitted at a later stage?

Should the lawyer not hold his or her hand in going forward with the application pending the submission of all the particulars as provided for in the CBI legislation?

Grenada as a small dependent country has to be extremely careful given the current state of play a the global level.

The United States, which is an ally of this country, is a target of those who engage in all forms of terrorism in the Middle East and other hot spot areas in the world.

The emergence of the Islamic State will most likely pose a greater threat to U.S interests around the world than even more than Al-Qaeda.

We have in our midst an important U.S-owned institution known as St. George’s University (SGU) and should be weary of it becoming a soft target at some stage by these terrorists.

A terrorist cell group can also seek to acquire a Grenadian passport to be used as the springboard to get into the United States and play the role of a sleeper for many years before finally engaging in some kind of terrorist act.

All of us who love Grenada should be prayerful that nothing like this happens because the repercussions could be so devastating that Grenada will be so badly punished because of the desire of some politicians to raise millions in a scheme that lowers the national psyche.

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